Many casual bettors want to bet on sports but they either don’t have the knowledge and/or the time to dominate it enough to generate a consistent profit. Outsourcing it to other handicappers by paying for a service that provides picks and handicapping advice can be a good idea. The big problem is that likely 95% of the so called tout industry are frauds who throw darts and only collect money via the hard sell. They lie about their picks and records as much as they can because they actually suck at what they do. However, there are enough handicappers who are good and honest – you just have to find them. Here are five things in no particular order to keep in mind that will help you finding the “right guy”:
1. The fee must be reasonable to your bet size
If you pay for picks/advice/information, you pay a certain amount of money for it. Some handicappers charge monthly, some charge for the whole season. You should inform yourself about the volume of bets. If you bet $100 per game, you shouldn’t pay $1,000 per season on a sports like NFL, because you would start at -10 units for the season. If you bet $1,000 per game, it’s a whole different story because you start at -1 unit. I believe that many casual bettors don’t understand this simple math. You have to think about your expectations of the service you buy and think about the upside in terms of profit.
2. Evaluate the betting structure
Is the betting system reasonable? There are guys who bet 3-5 units per play. What’s the difference of betting an average of 4 units per play instead of 1? Nothing. It just looks much better to advertise when you hit a 5U MAX PLAY. It’s all about efficiency and you can measure that with the Return of Risk indicator. If someone bets 4 units per game and is up +40 units, it’s exactly the same as someone who bets 1 unit and is up +10 units. The first one would look better on paper, but the RoR would be equal. Someone isn’t winning more just because the units are higher. Units are a measurement system, don’t get confused about someone trying to bait you with 5 or 10 unit plays. If you bet 2% of your bankroll per unit as your standard, you wouldn’t increase your standard to 10%, just because someone you tail bets 5u per average. You would project the 5 units to your own standard.
3. Check the reputation
If someone’s Twitter account is two weeks old with a sexy Las Vegas oddsboard header and he claims to be a “Sports betting consultant with 10+ years of experience” without any further information or history, you should hit the back-button as quickly as possible. When someone has built a following and reputation, it definitely helps. You can go through his timeline, see people who follow him or like his tweets and ask those followers via DM about how proven and reliable the handicapper is.
4. Records and RoR are two different things
Any record or recap should include W/L and at least net units won/lost. Record doesn’t mean anything without juice context. You can go 60%, but be on the losing side if you bet on -160 odds for which the break-even point would be 61.5%. On a sports like MLB you can have a losing record and still be up a bunch of units. Return on Risk matters. In a perfect world, each handicapper would always state his RoR, because that would be equal and comparable for everyone. But at least handicappers should state net units won/lost so followers can get a clue and feel for the performance and betting structure.
5. Find recaps of losing plays
This is probably my personal favorite. Losing is part of what we do. No one wins every day. Handicappers who tell you about losing plays are much more transparent, honest and have nothing to hide. Handicappers who only tell you about winning plays are most likely much more interested in the hard sell and advertising instead of building a longterm relationship with you. If someone only posts winning recaps, that’s a bad sign.
6. Avoid the 10 UNIT MAX BOMB guy
When you see someone handing out 10U MAX BOMBS – run as fast as you can. There is no reasonable thought or capping process on choosing between a 1u, 4u, 7u or 10u play. It’s for advertising purposes only. 10U means that someone is betting ten times his standard bet size. The most comical thing is when handicappers give out MAX BOMBS on a regular basis. We have seen guys giving out 10U picks on -200 odds and if they win they claim to have bet 20U to win 10U. If they lose, they calculate 10U to win 5U. Fraud alarm! And by the way, what is a DOUBLE MAX? Can you eat it?